Self Guided Walking Holidays & Cycling Holidays


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Amboise - Loire Valley Trails
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Highlights

  • Discovering the Renaissance village of Chenonceaux, on the banks of the Cher River
  • Exploring the Touraine area of the Loire with its UNESCO-famed landscapes
  • Taking advantage of the many photogenic scenes alongside the majestic Loire River
  • Visiting troglodytic Montlouis-sur-Loire, with its medieval church and world famous Pineau wine
  • Admiring the small villages and beautiful gardens overflowing with vibrant flowers
  • Eating a delicious breakfast in a troglodyte cave at one of the charming B&Bs

The Loire Valley is home to world famous châteaux, beautiful gardens and is also synonymous with first class vineyards. Located in the central area of France, just south and west of Paris, it has also served as an inspiration for painters, including Turner and Leonardo da Vinci.

On this self-guided walking tour you’ll discover an area which has been designated a UNESCO Cultural Landscape World Heritage Site. Specifically you will be exploring the Touraine region between Blois and Tours and on your scenic walks you can admire this unique landscape.

Begin in the sleepy Renaissance village of Chenonceaux, located on the banks of the Cher River. The beautiful chateau here reveals a taste of the many historic castles to come during your walking adventure.
From Chenonceaux you’ll reach Amboise and criss-cross your way through tufa hillsides. “Tuffeau” is the soft limestone which makes up the banks of the Loire River and all the castles you will see are built from this rock, hence their soft creamy colour.

Vouvray is a village particularly famous for its wine, so during your two-night stay here you can be sure of finding a restaurant or cellar to visit for a delicious glass or two. Around Vouvray there are plenty of sightseeing opportunities, and an array of walking trails to follow, whether you’re up for a stroll or a longer-distance hike.

DAY 1: Arrive in Chenonceaux

The sleepy Renaissance village of Chenonceaux located on the banks of the Cher River, boasts the world-renowned royal chateau. Chenonceau Castle is an impressive sight built over the river and boasting two gardens, one for each of the historic adversaries of Dianne de Poitiers and Catherine de Medici. Take a pretty stroll along the river to stretch your legs.


Overnight: La Maison de Famille B&B, Chenonceaux


This quaint B&B is located in the centre of Chenonceaux and surrounded by lovely gardens.  It has three charming rooms and the breakfasts are delicious consisting of a choice of breads, freshly-squeezed orange juice, cheeses, yoghurts, homemade jams and locally-produced honey.


DAY 2: Chenonceaux Loop Walk

Today you begin your walk by taking a trail through local vineyards and gently sloping wooded hillsides of beechwood, oak and hornbeam. Once you have taken your walk it is well worth setting aside some time to visit Chenonceau Chateau and Gardens. This beautiful castle is second only to Versailles as the most visited chateau in France. Make sure you view the Florentine galleries and Flemish tapestries that are on view.


This evening have a stroll through the town and perhaps sample a delicious local white wine, such as Sancerre, in a local restaurant.


Overnight: La Maison de Famille B&B, Chenonceaux


Walk: 10.5km


DAY 3: Walk from Chenonceaux to Amboise

After a delicious breakfast you’ll walk the picturesque banks of the River Cher to Dierre, where yellow markers reveal a beautiful nature trail through the Royal Forest of Amboise. The trail also heads to the Pagoda of Cantaloupe and on to the bustling historic Royal town of Amboise on the banks of the Loire. If you do not wish to walk the whole route today you can catch a ride part way with the luggage transfer company to shorten the walk.


Overnight: La Grange B&B, Amboise


This exceptional B&B will welcome you with open arms as the owners are very kind and helpful. The courtyard is an oasis and the rooms nicely decorated.


Walk: 20km


DAY 4: Amboise Trail of St Quen Walk

A second night in Amboise allows more time to explore the town and surrounding countryside. The Royal Château of Amboise and its landscaped gardens offer one of the most remarkable panoramas of the Loire Valley. St Hubert Chapel, the “Jewel of Amboise”, is the burial place of Leonardo da Vinci.


Today you can explore a wine village trail by criss-crossing the tufa hillsides through the vineyards of the Ramberge Valley to the north of the Loire River.  


Overnight: La Grange B&B, Amboise


Walk: 6.5/8km


DAY 5: Walk Amboise to Vouvray via the Route de St Jacques de Compostella

The GR3 Loire foot trail follows the natural course of the river for 1,250kms, from its source at Mont Gerbier-de-Jonc to its mouth at La Baule. Today’s walking joins this delightful route and takes you towards troglodytic Montlouis-sur- Loire. With its medieval church and world famous Pineau and white wines, this makes a great stop for lunch. The route then heads across the river and follows the north bank to the famous wine village of Vouvray and its many caves.


Overnight: La Closerie B&B, Vouvray


This B&B is located in a traditional Touraine-style house from the 18th century and has been completely restored. All the guestrooms are individually decorated and comfortably furnished and the breakfast is served in an original troglodyte cave!


Walk: 23km (There is an option to shorten the walk today to 10km if preferred)


DAY 6: Vouvray Optional Loop Walks

Today there are several enticing walk routes to choose from. One of these splendid walks takes you onto a plateau with open fields of cereal crops and passing several castles and La Caillerie which is where the French writer Honore de Balzac wrote his novels. Today there are many opportunities to stop and visit one of the cellars for a wine tasting.  Many of the cellars are carved into the tuffeau cliffs.


Overnight: La Closerie B&B, Vouvray


Walk: 6km/14km


DAY 7: Onward Travel

After breakfast, you’ll depart, hopefully armed with a few bottles of wine to take home. Take a local bus or taxi to Tours Train Station. You can opt to spend extra nights in either Tours or Paris if you wish.


Accommodation

The standard accommodations on this tour are charming B&B’s, small hotels or guesthouses.    



 

 

 




La Maison de Famille B&B - Chenonceaux

This quaint B&B is located in the centre of Chenonceaux and surrounded by lovely gardens. It has three charming rooms and the breakfasts are delicious consisting of a choice of breads, freshly-squeezed orange juice, cheeses, yoghurts, homemade jams and locally-produced honey.


 

 

 


 

 

 




La Grange B&B - Amboise

This exceptional B&B will welcome you with open arms as the owners are very kind and helpful. The courtyard is an oasis and the rooms nicely decorated.


 

 

 


 

 

 




La Closeraie - Vouvray

This B&B is located in a traditional Touraine-style house from the 18th century and has been completely restored. All the guestrooms are individually decorated and comfortably furnished and the breakfast is served in an original troglodyte cave!


 

 

 

Single Rooms

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable.


Solo Walkers

This trip is available to solo walkers, although there is an additional supplement to cover the extra costs that are not shared.


Additional Nights and Extensions

You can add additional nights at any point along the walk or in Tours or Paris.


Alternative accommodation

During the high season, you might be booked into alternative accommodations which are not listed in the description. Any alternative accommodation will be of the same or better standard as those described.


Meals

A delicious breakfast is included each morning. Lunch and dinner are not included. Most accommodations are happy to provide a packed lunch, but you will need to request this in advance. Alternately you can pick up lunch along the trail. Dinner is available at nearby bars, cafes and restaurants.






Time of Year

We would encourage you to travel within May-July and September- October when the temperatures are pleasant for walking. 


Single Rooms & Solo Walkers

If you require single rooms within your party we would be happy to accommodate you although there is a single room supplement payable. Solo walkers are also welcome for an additional charge.


Grade & Terrain 

This walking tour is graded easy to moderate. All trails are easy walking with minimal gradients on well made up dirt tracks, forest paths, grass, and gravelled and tarmac country lanes. 


Navigation, Route Notes & Maps

The way marked paths are specifically selected for their richness of architecture and landscape, accessibility, clear way-markers and services.


Baggage Transfers

All your belongings will be transferred between accommodations. We do ask you keep your baggage to one bag per person (maximum weight 15kg).


Accommodation Location

We will always try and accommodate you at the locations detailed in the tour itinerary. Occasionally, because of limited availability we may
have to accommodate you into alternative accommodations which are not listed in the description. If those listed are unavailable the
alternative accommodation will be of the same or better standard than those described.


Travel Insurance

It is a requirement of booking this tour with Macs Adventure that you have suitable travel insurance which covers you for the activity and emergency evacuation and hospital care


General Information

The distances and ascents/decents are approximations of the recommended routes.

Please be prepared by packing all nessersary items, for example. proper rain gear, sun hat, sunscreen. Your information pack has detailed advice and a kit list on what to take. This includes good waterproof gear, walking shoes/boots, and lots of other useful bits and bobs.


Getting to Chenonceaux/from Tours

By Air: Tours is the closest airport to Chenonceaux (27km) and is served by Ryanair and Flybe from the UK. Tours airport is connected to the centre of Tours (8km) by local bus. Fares and timetables can viewed at Filbleu Take the bus to Tours train station and then a train to Chenoncea (25 minutes). Timetables and fares can be viewed at Rail Europe (trains do not operate on Sundays).


Eurostar: Take the Eurostar from London St Pancras to Paris and then the TGV from Paris Montparnasse to Tours (one hour) then continue your journey to Chenonceaux by train


 Rail Europe is a good option for timetables and booking.

Getting to Chenonceaux/from Tours

By Air: Tours is the closest airport to Chenonceaux (27km) and is served by Ryanair and Flybe from the UK. Tours Airport is connected to the centre of Tours by local bus. Fares and timetables can viewed at Filbleu. Take the bus to Tours Train Station and then a train to Chenonceaux. Timetables and fares can be viewed at Rail Europe (trains do not operate on Sundays).


Eurostar: Take the Eurostar from London St Pancras to Paris and then the TGV from Paris Montparnasse to Tours (one hour) then continue your journey to Chenonceaux by train


 Rail Europe is a good option for timetables and booking.

Included

  • 6 Nights in hand picked B&B’s, guest houses and small comfortable hotels
  • 6 Breakfasts
  • Baggage transfers
  • Detailed route descriptions, maps and information pack
  • 24-hour phone assistance

Excluded

  • Travel to Chenonceaux
  • Travel from Vouvray
  • Lunches & Dinners
  • Drinks & Snacks
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses such as drinks, phone calls, extra transfers, tips, etc

Extras

  • Single room supplement
  • Solo walker supplement
  • Extra nights

We are often asked the following questions and I hope that you will find the answers useful. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any other questions or for more advice from our team.

 

How far in advance do I need to book?

We suggest you book as soon as your plans are finalised as the Loire is extremely popular during May/June/July/August. You will find up to date availability on our website.

How fit do I need to be?

This walking tour is graded easy to moderate. All trails are easy walking with minimal gradients on well made up dirt tracks, forest paths, grass, and gravelled and tarmac country lanes.

What personal equipment do I need?

Our pre-departure information pack has detailed advice and a kit list on what to take. This includes good waterproof gear, walking shoes/boots, and lots of other useful bits and bobs.

When is the best time of year?

Spring,early summer and autumn are generally best as the Loire Valley is both busy and hot in mid summer. we will always try and accommodate your plans so just ask.

Which is the best airport?

Tours is the closest airport to Chenonceaux (27km) and is served by Ryanair and Flybe from the UK, or Paris Charles de Gaulle for international arrivals. Tours airport is connected to the centre of Tours (8km) by local bus and from Paris you can connect to Tours by train TGV (1HR). 

What about the navigation?

The way marked paths are specifically selected for their richness of architecture and landscape, accessibility, clear way-markers and services.

How do the baggage transfers work?

All your belongings will be transferred between accommodations. We do ask you keep your baggage to one bag per person (maximum weight 15kg).

What happens if I cant walk a stage?

You can use public transport or local taxis to continue to your next overnight stop.

Vive La Val de Loire!

4

Sejourning in Blois, a fews days after completing the Val de Loire walk from Chenonceaux to Vouvray with Macs. Walking in early to mid September on the banks of the Loire and adjoining vineyards was great with moderate temperatures for the most part (20-25 degrees C) and no rain. Accommodation was a highlight with the Roseraie (Chenonceaux), La Grange (Amboise) and La Closeraie (Vouvray) providing great comfort to some tired walkers! Le petit dejeuner at all stays was good, traditional and featured local produce. Thanks to Yveline (Amboise) and Corrine (Vouvray). We skipped the day 1 walk in Chenonceaux, and visited the chateau instead. Chateaus in the Loire are rich experiences and can easily take a day. In Amboise, Clos de Luce (where Leonardo Da Vinci spent his last years) also beckoned leaving not a lot of opportunity for the recommended circuit around Amboise. Recommendation: if you are into things cultural, don't agonise over substituting these experiences for the loop walks around Amboise and Chenonceaux. These walks were the least well documented anyway, requiring supplementation of walking notes with Google maps offline. This walk has yet to be given the gpx viewer treatment accorded to more recent walks in the Macs inventory. Some of the walking between the towns was on GRs (Grand Randonees) which have merged in some instances with cycle paths. A cute feature was the way in which routes tended to follow medieval pilgrimage routes with stone markers of ancient origin. Birdlife was very evident along the Loire. We recommend this walk. Thanks to Lucy and the team at Macs.

Mark

Australia

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Wonderful trip

4

Wonderful, easy walking through the Loire which is a beautiful region and plenty of time to visit chateaux and wineries during the week. The maps and routes need a complete review and improvement as the circular walks in particular are difficult to follow and not well described in the booklet.

Avocado

London

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History, beautiful countryside, food and wine in the Loire

4

This was my 9th walk with Macs, my 6th walk in France, my 4th solo trek. Stays in 3 lovely villages / towns with great, welcoming accommodations. Easy walking, well sign-posted, with plenty of time for exploration. I did this in early April - the weather was fine and sunny but quite cool. A good time to visit chateaux etc as there were few crowds. This early in the season, in the smaller villages, you do need to be aware of availability of places to buy food and eat dinner as many are closed Sunday evenings, Mondays and often other times during the week.

Lesley

Sydney, Australia

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Yes

4

The hostesses and quality of accommodation were excellent, comfortable, friendly and great breakfasts. Willing to help with restaurant and sight seeing advice etc. A fantastic part of the world to walk in

Alan Barrie

Auckland NZ

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Beautiful landscapes and excellent B&Bs

5

My husband and I, fit and healthy and in our 60s, found the Loire Valley Walk easy and fulfilling. Mac Adventure sent us all the documentation well in advance, and were in phone contact should we need it, as we did on the first day of a Loop Walk. We found the longer walks between towns well mapped and easy to follow, but the shorter Loop Walks not so. We realised that on the Loop Walks we were never far from the towns, so we weren't likely to get lost, but it was disconcerting on the first one, which was when we telephoned the office for help. Between Chenonceaux and Amboise, and again from Amboise to Vouvray, we hitched a ride half-way with the driver of our bags. It was worthwhile as the first halves of those walks were through villages and along roads, where the second halves were through forests - more to our taste. We would certainly undertake another Mac Adventure Walk, and recommend the company to friends.

Cadarnle

New Zealand

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We love our trip and would highly recommend it

5

Only negative feedback, maps could have provided more detail.

The Buster's

Melbourne, Australia

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Vineyards and Chareaux.

4

The accommodation was all good. Le ClosMony with Patricia was outstanding, she was hospitable, a great cook, friendly and could not do enough to make our stay memorable. The walk around Chenonceaux a pleasant easy start that needs new markings. Chenonceaux chateau outstanding. The walk to Amboise very straightforward and pleasant. Amboise had so much to see and explore. The walk around Vouvray well marked and an enjoyable finish to a pleasant scenic walk. All of the accommodation and hosts were excellent, spacious, well located, generous breakfasts and facilities to prepare your own evening meals.

Vineyard Stroller.

Melbourne Australia

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Lovely countryside and villages

4

We really appreciated having proper ordinance survey maps and not the photoreduced small sections of the original maps that some companies provide. All three hostesses of our three B&Bs were charming and went out of their way to be helpful.

Jenny

Brisbane

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Exploring the Loire Valley

5

We decided to combine our love of walking together with our love of France this year. The landscape and environment delighted us, and although the weather was just too hot for comfort at times (38 degrees) we had a lovely time. The three landladies, Patricia, Evelyne and Corrine, were artistic, warm-hearted and wecloming and Evelyne in particular was incredibly kind and considerate when I was ill one day. Corrin'es troglodytic house boasted a grand piano as well as a cave, where we breakfasted, and all three ladies were brilliant home bakers. Sarah, the local Macs rep, was helpful when we got locked out, and all in all we felt cossetted but not condescended to, as befits adventurers. Thank you. We'll be back.

Not dead yet

Edinburgh

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Can't wait for our next trip!

5

My wife and I spent 6 days walking through the Loire Valley on our Macs Adventure tour, and we can't wait to take our next walking tour with them! Our trip was barely marred by the worst flooding France had experienced in 35 years (though I do recommend a couple of things - including excellent rain gear, and maybe a ziplock bag to keep your map in). We were truly impressed and delighted by each of our accommodations. We experienced three very different kinds of bed and breakfasts, and each one exceeded our expectations. The innkeepers were very friendly (one even gave us a ride to the train station when our taxi forgot about us!), the food was wonderful, the rooms were spacious and very comfortable. One of our favorite things was that each town (we visited three) offered a different experience of the French countryside. Chenonceaux was small and quite rural, Amboise was much larger comparatively, with a lively tourist area, and Vouvray was somewhere between them, and clearly a wine town with much to do for wine tourists like us! Getting to experience the different feelings and attractions in each town was a lot of fun, and really made us feel like we were getting a special experience. Finally, I want to mention the one thing that went wrong (flooding aside) with our trip, only because I was so impressed and pleased with the way it was handled. Due to a last-minute overbooking, our lodging at one point was moved, and because of the confusion, we ended up (for about half an hour) without a place to stay for the night. However, both of the innkeepers as well as our Macs Adventures contact jumped right on it, offering us an immediate solution, and then following up to make sure it was settled. Within 20 minutes, the lodging arrangements were taken care of, and we were offered champagne for our troubles. This as much as anything else made me confident in booking a future trip with MA; it was great to see them in action fixing a problem!

Elizabeth B.

Eugene, Oregon

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Loire Valley Trails

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